Tweets in 10 (Part 4) – Now What?

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on December 20, 2010 in: Twitter Tips & Tools

So, you’ve opened a Twitter account and over the weeks and months after reading my Twitter in 10 series, you’ve generated attention. You’ve built up a following in just ten minutes a day. You’ve engaged your audience in a dialogue about the things that you like to think about. They have come to view you as a sort-of expert in the field and they are listening intently to what you have to say.

Now what? You’ve got all of these people listening to you, so what should you do next? In other situations, an intent audience might be the perfect group of people to make a sales presentation to. But that is not the case for this audience! (At least not an obvious one!)

Whatever you do, don’t blatantly market to this audience! This is not the time to start (obviously) selling to them. That is a quick recipe to lose followers, destroy your credibility, and diminish the potential “return” you can get on the time and effort you spent on Twitter.

Does this sound familiar to you?

It’s similar to a situation from my own life a few years ago:

I had a good friend once and we used to hang out quite a bit. Then she got into a business and wanted me to get into it too. I wasn’t interested because I was already busy with my own existing businesses. But she was persistent. Every time we got together, she would present the sales pitch to me. Not surprisingly, I never returned her calls or took the initiative to get together with her and I found convenient reasons why we couldn’t meet for coffee. Sadly, we drifted apart… because I was interested in being her friend but not interested in the constant sales pitch I heard from her.

Twitter is similar. People follow you and come to respect what you have to say. And, like my relationship with my friend, it’s okay to talk a bit about yourself from time to time in a tasteful way that isn’t blatantly self-promoting… just like you would normally reference yourself in a conversation with your friends.

For example, some acceptable self-referencing (but NOT self-promoting) tweets might be:

  • I just finished coaching a client about social media (and add a link to your website page that talks about your coaching – on occasion)
  • Getting ready for my speech at tomorrow’s seminar (link to the seminar’s website)
  • Tired from creating a proposal for an entrepreneur

See how these are different (and superior) to self-promoting tweets like: “Buy my ebook at my website” or “If you need coaching, give me a call.”

Now, I don’t want you to despair. You haven’t spent all this time on Twitter just to build up an audience who won’t buy from you! On the contrary, this is an audience who might be highly likely to buy from you; you just can’t blatantly pitch them through Twitter. Twitter is not a sales presentation tool. It is a tool to allow you to build up an audience of people who think you have something valuable to say. You build up the audience, develop some credibility, and when they’re ready, your audience will take the next step.

When is it Right to Sell to Someone?

Think of it like this: You “pitch” your product or service to prospects… not to leads. And the people who are following you on Twitter are leads. You need to turn them into prospects first and then you can pitch to them.

So think of Twitter as the way to build a relationship with people as leads and gently encourage them to become part of your list. Once they’re on your list, they are prospects and you can add value through (for example) newsletters and sales presentations.

(Note: That’s not to say you won’t convert people into customers on Twitter, but it doesn’t happen as often).

Back to the Example

Let me revisit the example I gave earlier about my friend. If she really wanted me to get into business with her, she would have been far better off to continue having normal conversations with me. Through the natural course of our friendship, she could talk about everything (friends, relationships, the weather, politics, family… and occasionally her business). As someone who values her, I would happily ask questions about the important areas of her life – including her business – to learn more. If she became more successful and if I expressed an interest in hearing more about her business, then THAT would be the perfect time for her to give me a bit of a sales pitch.

The more of a relationship you build with your Twitter followers, and the more value you offer them, the more they will respect and admire you and share you with their friends (cough – cough – remember ‘Retweeting’). When they are ready to hear more, they will join your list and become a prospect. And when they are ready to buy, they will make a purchase.

Adding More Value to Hasten the Sale

You can help to lock your name in their minds and you can also jumpstart the switch from following you to seeing you as their service provider. You can do this by creating high quality content on your website, especially content that they can read regularly, download, or subscribe to.

For example:

  • A blog with an RSS feed
  • An ezine
  • A free ebook or ‘free chapter’ of an ebook you charge for
  • An “insiders’ circle” or membership program (free or paid)

By giving them this option, they are going onto your turf to indicate that they want to hear exclusively from you. They are saying that they want to advance the business relationship from being one where you are just one small voice in a vast field of tweets to a relationship where you are sending them content in their inbox or RSS reader.

My favorite thing to do is to have what I call a ‘squeeze page with benefits’. You know what a squeeze page is, right? A website or page where the person exchanges their name and email address in exchange for something free (whether it be an ebook or an ezine or any number of things). Well, a squeeze page with benefits gives them the option to get that free goodie OR buy something.

So, to summarize:

Don’t think of Twitter as a place where you just pitch your services. Instead, think of it as a collection point for leads to become prospects. And, when they are ready to take the next step, they will visit your website to explore what you can offer them. And you should be ready there to help them become customers. There are of course creative ways to convert them directly from Twitter when you have things such as a free and paid version of an item.

But how do you get them to make that transition to your website?

Tweet valuable content often!

Heather Recommends:

If you are a coach, freelancer, or entrepreneur who wants to succeed like a pro, I can help.

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